Perhaps in the 21st century we should be judging bands on their ability to make a memorable 'iTunes single of the week'. Or, in this case perhaps not. Alberta Cross only really caught my attention a few years back when single 'Old Man Chicago' was on offer to me for free – now who is turn down a pleasing free and legal download? And maybe for me to say they caught my attention is a bit of an exaggeration seen as the track's play count is only a reflection of the few times I have been fearless and adventurous enough to listen to my library on shuffle.
I suppose I could class myself as a bit of a closet Kings of Leon liker (fan?...don't push it), thinking that this whole southern blues-rock Americana isn't a whole lot of bad. British replicas like Band of Skulls and the rest don't seem to faze me either, and yet Alberta Cross come across as a little phoney with Songs of Patience. They seem to try just a bit too hard. Maybe it was just the band's anticipation of those wonderful BBC montages that came along with the Olympics? Maybe they were hopefully clinging onto the cringeworthily pride-inducing melodies of opening track 'Magnolia', a montage miracle giving Elbow a run for their (loyalties) money.
I'd like to hope that no one believes that giving two guys guitars automatically makes you Oasis. Alberta Cross' Peter Ericson Stakee and Terry Wolfers almost abandon that quite nice blues-sound that they had with first album Broken Side of Time in favour of the shapeless Kasabian-esque lad-rock misdirection of track 'Crate if Gold'.
Songs of Patience is missing that beloved blues rock element. They sound too normal and its starting to feel like we may be waiting some time for a British band to stand up well enough in this genre. It's like Alberta Cross have missed their time. Tracks like 'Come on Maker' may have been a success should it have made its way onto our musical radar in the late 90s, filling our ears with overemotional shit lads-and-dads rock, but we've moved onto better things since then. And yes, the classics remain, but it doesn't seem like there's much chance of an Alberta Cross single making its way onto a 'Dad's faves' father's day compilation in the near future.
There's no doubt about the level of regret in my harshness. Alberta Cross don't infuriate, but nor do they impress. They have work to do. Develop on the blues, not on the naff Britpop attempt that Songs of Patience is riddled with.